Cattle futures start the week strong

Cattle futures start the week strong

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher, waiting for the week’s direct cash business to develop with support from stronger boxed beef prices. October live cattle closed $.50 higher at $145.05 and October feeder cattle closed $1.15 higher at $186.10.

It was a quiet start for direct cash cattle business in this holiday-shortened week.  While trade has been slow to develop, packers are short-bought and when business picks up, prices will likely reflect that.  Showlists are smaller across all major feeding areas.  Early asking prices surfaced at $144 live in the South.  The rest of cattle country has been quiet.  Look for significant trade volume to develop over the balance of the week. 

At the OKC West Livestock Auction in Oklahoma, compared to last week, steers calves were $3 to $5 higher on a light test.  Heifer calves were not well tested and a lower undertone was noted.  The USDA says demand was good for a small offering.  Receipts were down significantly on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 43% steers and 10% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 360 to 397 pounds brought $227.50 to $230 and feeder steers 474 to 498 pounds brought $195 to $220.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 411 to 447 pounds brought $178 to $192.50 and feeder heifers 528 to 541 pounds brought $172 to $182. 

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for moderate offerings.  Choice is $1.05 higher at $260.47 and Select is $.72 higher at $239.30.  The Choice/Select spread is $21.17. 

Estimated cattle slaughter is 127,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 8,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed, adjusting spreads. October lean hogs closed $1.07 higher at $91.10 and December lean hogs closed $.80 higher at $83.50.